The government’s updated immigration rules could save the country as much as £70 million over the next decade, as well as make it easier for those submitting working visa applications.
Independent law reform agency the Law Commission released a report on the Simplification of the Immigration Rules.
It recommends simplifying the legislation entirely, so it is more easily accessible and provides both transparency and legal certainty for those applying for immigration in the UK.
Public law commissioner Nicholas Paines said: “For both applicants and case workers, the drafting of the Immigration Rules and frequent updates makes them too difficult to follow. This has resulted in mistakes that waste time and cost taxpayer money.”
He went on to say: “By improving the drafting, restructuring the layout and removing inconsistencies, our recommendations will make a real difference by saving money and increasing public confidence in the rules.”
Among the recommended changes are dividing the content of the rules by subject matter; improving drafting techniques so it is easier to understand; making navigation of the rules online easier; and simplifying supporting guidance into one single document.
It also suggested creating an informal advisory committee to ascertain whether the rules are in keeping with the Law Commission’s guidance; limiting updates to just twice a year, in April and October; and introducing a structured process for receiving feedback so problems can be rectified as quickly as possible.
These changes would result in fewer mistakes, quicker decision-making, a reduction in administrative reviews and appeals, and a system that is more easily maintained. Therefore, £70 million worth of savings was estimated, as well as an increase in public confidence and a boost to Britain’s reputation.
British businesses are likely to be in support of the Law Commission’s report, after the Confederation of British Industry revealed that 57 per cent of companies want a simple immigration system, and are worried about not being able to easily move workers around the European Union following Brexit.